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Congresswoman Ellmers is the proud representative of over 70,000 men and women who served our country and reside in the second congressional district of North Carolina. Making sure these men and women receive the honor and care they deserve is among her top priorities. She consistently pursued the Department of Veterans Affairs to reform its broken claims process and has called on Congress to promote employment opportunities and patient-centered healthcare for all of our nation’s veterans. The men and women of the military have supported and served our country, and it is imperative that we as a nation show our appreciation.
Legislation to Promote Veteran Employment
Photo above from Recruit-A-Vet Employment Fair
One of the largest problems facing our men and women in uniform is uncertainty while transitioning from active duty to civilian life. It is too often that these individuals face the hardships of unemployment. With veterans' unemployment hovering around 10 percent, Congress has an obligation to ensure there are opportunities awaiting these soldiers once they have fulfilled their military duty.
In addition to holding an annual Veterans Job Fair with local and national businesses alike, Congresswoman Ellmers supports legislation to promote the hiring of veterans. The women and men that serve our country have acquired amazing skills from their service that can easily transition to the workforce and benefit employers.
H.R. 803 - The SKILLS Act - Requires and assists states by adopting an investment plan that will furnish employment and employment training for veterans. The SKILLS Act will provide support and placement services to veterans, including disabled and homeless veterans. It provides strategies and services that will be used to assist and expedite the reintegration of homeless veterans into the labor force.
H.R. 3395 - VOW to Hire Heroes Extension Act of 2013 - Expands and extends the work opportunity tax credit (WOTC) for hiring qualified veterans. This measure ensures that unemployed and service-connected disabled veterans can enter the workforce after serving their country.
Legislation to Promote Veterans Healthcare
Traveling through North Carolina, Congresswoman Ellmers has heard from numerous veterans regarding the lack of timely, accessible, and patient-centered healthcare offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The backlog of claims is only a portion of the problem - many veterans in rural areas face huge geographical hurdles in receiving their healthcare. Having served as a nurse for more than two decades, Congresswoman Ellmers understands the value of patient-centered healthcare and is working to promote this practice throughout the VA health system.
H.R. 3408 - The Injured and Amputee Veterans Bill of Rights - Congresswoman Ellmers introduced this legislation to ensure that injured and amputee veterans receive the highest quality of care. The measure also empowers veterans to make their own healthcare decisions, ensuring veteran-centered healthcare.
H.R. 635 - Healthy Vets Act of 2013 - Allows veterans access to local healthcare facilities within a timely manner for those who are not in close proximity to VA facilities. It directs the VA Secretary the ability to contract services such as primary care, acute or chronic symptom management, and any other services deemed appropriate to ensure the veteran has the ability to receive healthcare regardless of where the veteran lives.
H.R. 2072 - Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act of 2013 - Requires the Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs to submit a list of names for each responsible VA manager not fulfilling their duties to the congressional veterans' affairs committees to ensure accountability and to end the bureaucratic backlog currently harming our veterans.
H.R. 3775 - The Military Save Act - Empowers survivors of military sexual trauma to decide the appropriate healthcare treatment they need as a result of their trauma received while serving. Sexual trauma care is a very personal service that the survivor must have control over. This legislation allows the survivor to receive a voucher from the VA so they can choose the physician they are most comfortable with.
Legislation to Protect Veterans Benefits
Congresswoman Ellmers understands the sacrifice veterans have put forward while serving our great nation. These men and women have fought bravely and selflessly and earned every benefit along the way. As a country, we have been protected by these soldiers and when they finish their service, we need to do everything in our power to assist them through their transition. Congresswoman Ellmers strives to protect veterans and the benefits that were promised to them.
H.R. 3789 - Reverses cuts to the cost of living adjustments for: medically retired veterans, veterans eligible for combat-related special compensation, those entitled to concurrent payment of retired pay and veterans' disability compensation, and the Survivor Benefit Plan.
H.R. 32 - The Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act - Ends the so-called "widow's tax." This measure supports those military families that have lost a loved one and removes the dollar for dollar offset of benefit payments from the Department of Defense's Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and the Department of Veterans' Affairs Dependency and Indemnity (DIC) Program allowing them to access the benefits they deserve. This legislation ensures that the military families who have made the ultimate sacrifice receive the support they need during the hardest time of their lives.
H.R. 149 - Prioritize Spending Act of 2013 – Ensures that in the event the public debt reaches the statutory limit, our nation's military and their families, along with those receiving Social Security and Medicaid, will not be harmed by the nation reaching its debt limit. This measure makes sure that the pay and benefits these families need are not disrupted should the debt ceiling not be increased.
Legislation to Honor our Nation's Heroes
H.R. 164 - Allows veterans who have service-connected disabilities and permanent disability rated as total to travel on military aircraft in the same manner as retired members of the Armed Forces entitled to such travel.
H.R. 324 - Awards the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the First Special Service Force in recognition of its superior service during World War II.
H.R. 658 - Authorizes and requests the President to award the Congressional Medal of Honor to Arthur Jibilian, while serving as a member of the United States Navy and the Office of Strategic Services, for actions behind enemy lines during World War II.
H.R. 685 - Awards the Congressional Gold Medal to American Fighter Aces.
H.R. 755 - Awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol.
H.R. 833 - Ensures that the Purple Heart will occupy a position of precedence above the new Distinguished Warfare Medal.
Purple Heart awarded to John Wolfe in a ceremony in
Rep. Ellmers' Dunn office for the sacrifice he made in Iraq
H.R. 1209 - Awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the World War II members of the "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders," for outstanding heroism, valor, skill, and service to the United States in conducting the bombings of Tokyo.
H.R. 1726 - Awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers.
Members of the Army War Class of 2012 presenting portrait commemorating fallen soldiers
Other measures supported by Congresswoman Ellmers
Letter to Secretary Shineski regarding Department of Veterans Affairs - Letter expressing concern with the sub-par care veterans continue to receive through the VA in Fayetteville and Durham, North Carolina, and requesting an account of the actions being taken by the VA to address the severe problems at these facilities. May 28, 2014. Click here to read letter.
H.J.RES.91 - The Department of Defense Survivor Benefits Continuing Appropriations Resolution - This resolution ensures, if there is a lapse in appropriations, the family of a deceased service member receives the support and benefits guaranteed to the family by the Survivor Benefit Plan. It is imperative that we as a nation do everything we can to help military families facing the tragedy of losing a loved one.
VA Claims Back Log Letter to the President of the United States - On May 28, 2013 Congresswoman Ellmers sent a letter to President Obama requesting that he take direct action to end the Department of Veterans Affairs disability claims backlog. The unnecessary harm inflicted on veterans and their families due to a failing claims process is not a result of funding, as the VA has seen their budget increase by 40 percent since 2009. It is instead a lack of leadership stemming from our president all the way down through the bureaucracy.
The Budget and Veterans
Click here to read Congresswoman Ellmers' statement on the Budget and Veterans.
NOTE: If you are a current service member, veteran, or family member of someone who served and have encountered a problem with your disability compensation, pension, vocational rehabilitation, health care education, burial or survivor benefits, my office may be able to assist you. Click here to learn more about the constituent services my office provides to veterans.